Finding out that your child has Cerebral Palsy is life-changing. Every family’s circumstances will be slightly different but most will have a range of immediate concerns, some short-term, some long-term, some practical and health-related and some financial.
Cerebral palsy is a term covering a group of disorders that affect someone’s brain (cerebral) and the way in which they are able to use their muscles (palsy). Often, when cerebral palsy occurs, there is no relationship between the disorder and anything that has been done, or not done, by a medical professional.
Sometimes, however, mistakes can be made by doctors, nurses or midwives during the birthing process which can go on to result in a baby or toddler receiving a cerebral palsy diagnosis. If you believe that this could be what happened to you, then an early conversation with our specialist medical negligence solicitors would be a good idea.
Our experienced Medical Negligence team has lawyers – led by Sharon Allison and Ben Ward – who specialise in claims for cerebral palsy and other types of birth injury. Ashtons has a track record of successful cerebral palsy claims going back many years and the firm has consistently achieved top rankings from independent client guides The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for over 20 years for Clinical Negligence (now more commonly known as Medical Negligence). The team also includes specialists accredited by Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA).
If you are worried about the cost of making a medical negligence claim, don’t be. In some cerebral palsy cases we are still able to apply for public funding for your claim. If you are not eligible for this, we offer ‘no win, no fee’ type arrangements for all of our medical negligence claims. This can mean there is no up-front cost to begin your claim and no financial risk to you if your claim is not successful*.
*Subject to entering into a conditional fee agreement in conjunction with a suitable insurance policy to cover any unrecovered disbursements and complying with your responsibilities under the terms of both.
Book a free no-obligation conversation with our cerebral palsy solicitors in Cambridge
You and your family are likely to have many questions you would wish to ask before starting your cerebral palsy claim. These may include:
- Whether you have the right grounds to bring a claim?
- How much compensation might you be able to achieve to secure your child’s future?
- How long might a cerebral palsy claim take to process?
- Does it matter how old your child is when you start the claim?
- Is it possible to get an interim compensation payment in the short term to help fund private treatment or make adaptations to a property to make family life easier?
- Could we get an apology from the hospital in relation to my child’s cerebral palsy as well as financial compensation?
- If we bring a cerebral palsy compensation claim, might it help to get system changes made in our local hospital so that the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?
In order to answer these questions and any others you may have we offer a free initial consultation with one of our specialist lawyers. Although our offices are in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, we regularly act for families in other locations and have clients throughout the UK.
We can have our initial consultation virtually on Microsoft Teams or another digital platform of your choice. Alternatively we can offer a face-to-face appointment in either our Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Norwich or Ipswich office.
To arrange a free initial consultation with one of cerebral palsy specialists, please contact our Cambridge office.
Our cerebral palsy claims expertise
We have a strong track record of successful cerebral palsy claims started on behalf of children of all ages.
Ideally, we would first see you soon after your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. If it becomes clear early on that there are likely to be grounds for a medical negligence claim, then we would seek to obtain some funding in advance of the claim being settled (known as an interim payment) to help cover costs you may already be incurring to support your child’s particular needs or to access additional treatment.
However, a cerebral palsy claim can often still be brought at a much later date. If, as a result of cerebral palsy, an adult does not have mental capacity to make their own decisions, a claim may still be able to be brought at this point.
The oldest person for whom Ashtons has successfully concluded a cerebral palsy claim was a lady in her 40s whose parents had looked after her without additional support as a child but then realised as they got older that they needed to secure her future as they would not always be around to look after her.
How we can help you to claim compensation for your child’s cerebral palsy
Working out whether you can claim and who is responsible
We will request, collect and review all the evidence. This will include talking to you and accessing medical records and hospital notes. We then typically go on to obtain reports from experienced and trusted independent midwives, paediatric neurologists, obstetricians, neonatologists and neuro-radiologists.
Our cerebral palsy solicitors in Cambridge will look at:
- Duty of Care – what should your medical team have done to protect you and your child?
- Statutory Duty – what laws were in place at the time your medical injury occurred?
- Did your medical team breach their Duty of Care or Statutory Duty?
- If there was a breach of either or both of these duties, was that the cause of the cerebral palsy which has now been diagnosed?
Some of the most frequent mistakes which result in cerebral palsy are:
- Not monitoring a baby’s heartbeat at appropriate times and/or misinterpretation of the device used to monitor the baby’s heart beat
- Failing to identify that a baby is in distress
- Using the wrong instruments during a baby’s delivery or not using the right instruments correctly
- Delivering a baby too late and/or failing to carry out a successful caesarean section
- Allowing umbilical cord compression to result in interruption to a baby’s supply of oxygen.
Why cerebral palsy claims are different to other medical negligence claims
If a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, it is rarely clear at the start how successful therapies will be, how the child will develop as the years go by and therefore how much support they are likely to need later in life. So, cerebral palsy claims may be ongoing for a number of years before a final settlement is reached.
However, this does not mean you will have to wait years to get financial support. You can be sure that our medical negligence lawyers will push for interim payments to help with immediate financial needs while also working to ensure that your child’s future is financially secure in the long term.
When bringing a cerebral palsy claim, the first thing we will aim to do is to get an admission from the NHS that the medics did not provide adequate care and that this resulted in the cerebral palsy. Everyone’s circumstances are different but here’s an example of an admission obtained recently.
While we are going through the process of bringing your cerebral palsy claim, we will ensure our team is alongside you to support in any way we can. To hear from one client about how we helped her family, click here.
Valuing your cerebral palsy claim
We will calculate how much compensation your child might be entitled to receive. This will include assessing the severity of their cerebral palsy and a wide range of factors about their future life. It will also include looking at the care that you are giving to them. One of the most consistent features of cerebral palsy claims is that parents have completely changed their lives in order to look after their child and this needs to be factored into the claim.
The process of a medical negligence claim
Many medical negligence claims, including cerebral palsy claims, are settled out of court. We negotiate a settlement with NHS Resolution, who will be acting on behalf of the hospital responsible for the errors which led to your child’s cerebral palsy.
Through skilful negotiation we can often obtain a good settlement without the need to go to court, which means you will receive your compensation more quickly and not have the potential stress of attending court.
If court proceedings are needed to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve, we will make sure that we make the best possible case for you and will also provide you with the support you need at what may be a difficult time.
Book your free initial consultation with our specialist birth injury lawyers in Cambridge
To arrange your free initial consultation in complete confidence with our highly experienced medical negligence lawyers please contact our Cambridge office at your convenience.